E-voting to kill hanging chads

In 2003, Lori Steele watched as Arnold Schwarzenegger became California’s governor in a recall. The zeal behind the off-schedule election impressed her.

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“The recall made me realize how much people really care who their leaders are and that those leaders are effective, which made me think back to the serious voter dissatisfaction of the 2000 Presidential election,” she says, referring to the infamous “hanging chads” debacle. “I began to think that better technology could provide transparent and accurate elections.”

The idea: Steele, who was at the time working as a private wealth advisor at Solomon Smith Barney in San Diego, set herself an ambitious goal: abolishing the “extreme insecurity” of voting by paper and mail.

So in 2006, she raised the capital to acquire Everyone Counts, a small Australian electronic-voting services company that began as an online test-administering business in 1996. [Read the full article]

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. said Thursday it is investigating a breach of accounts affecting former National City Bank customers and their debit-card accounts.

The affected accounts are restricted to the Cincinnati area, and current PNC Bank customers are not affected, PNC Financial spokesman Fred Solomon told The Associated Press.

Bank officials were made aware of the data breach earlier this week, but Solomon would not say how many customers’ accounts have been compromised or how much money was stolen.

PNC Financial, which is based in Pittsburgh, said some customer debit cards were compromised shortly before the company acquired Cleveland-based National City Corp. in December 2008.

“We believe any fraudulent charges that have been made are already in the system,” Solomon said, adding that all National City Bank cards remain active until customers activate their PNC Bank card. [Read the full article]

A convicted embezzler who snagged more than $9 million in business tax credits from the state of Michigan has been charged with defrauding an elderly neighbor.

CEO Richard A. Short was charged Friday with embezzlement and obtaining money under false pretenses and illegally using an ATM card. A judge set his bail at $9.2 million. Short didn’t enter a plea but said he understood the new charges against him.

Short shared the stage with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday as she announced RASCO would get tax credits for setting up its headquarters in Flint. He was arrested a day later and then charged with violating his parole.

The situation has embarrassed economic development officials, who say they are looking into how Short won the tax credit. [Read the full article]

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